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Shatter, Alan

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 Nbr. 3


Priority Questions - Garda Strength

Was asked: the final number of eligible garda who have indicated they will be retiring by end February 2012; the options reviewed by the Garda Commissioners in relation to potentially closing garda stations; ...More Button

The strength of the Garda Síochána at the end of 2011 was just under 13,900, along with over 2,000 civilian support staff and over 800 Garda Reserve members. I am informed by the Gar...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, these reductions form part of a wider programme aimed at reducing the size of the public service and will contribute to reducing expenditure and complying with the term...More Button

Reductions in numbers, whether in the Garda Síochána or elsewhere in the public sector, must be accompanied by reform. New efficiencies must be introduced so that even with reduced s...More Button

The key objective of the station closures was not simply, as some have suggested, to save relatively small amounts of cash on station maintenance or utilities, but rather to promote the more effici...More Button

The House might be interested to note that today I announced that the Government, at my request and with the sanction of the Minster for Public Expenditure and Reform, had appointed two assistant c...More Button

The Garda Commissioner has reiterated the commitment of the Garda Síochána to providing a professional and effective service to the community. This will mean continuing to promote re...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, under the EU-IMF agreement, substantial efficiencies must be effected. His party, when in government, entered into arrangements with a view to reducing the numbers in the G...More Button

In the context of dealing with matters well in advance of us getting to our current position, at an early stage in the Department work was undertaken and consultations were undertaken with the Gard...More Button

Priority Questions - Northern Ireland Issues

Was asked: his proposals to work with his northern counterpart to increase all-Ireland justice and crime initiatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I regularly meet my Northern Ireland counterpart, the Minister of Justice, Mr. David Ford, and we have developed a close working relationship. We have a shar...More Button

Structured co-operation between our Departments and the related criminal justice agencies North and South is provided for under the intergovernmental agreement on co-operation on criminal justice m...More Button

In addition to these regular ministerial meetings, project groups comprising relevant officials and practitioners from the two jurisdictions have been established to take forward co-operation in th...More Button

An annual cross-Border organised crime conference is organised by the two justice Departments and the law enforcement agencies, North and South. It focuses on enhancing practical co-operation in c...More Button

The two police forces operate a joint cross-Border policing strategy that aims to improve public safety throughout Ireland by disrupting criminal activity in both jurisdictions and enhancing the po...More Button

Additional information not given on the floor of the House.More Button

This close co-operation reflects the Government’s strong continuing commitment to cross-Border working which can only be to the benefit of all the people of the island.More Button

I met the Minister, Mr. Ford, and Scotland’s Secretary for Justice, Mr. Kenny MacAskill, last week when we discussed a number of matters of common interest. These included sectarianism, shar...More Button

There is a series of meetings at ministerial level with the Minister, Mr. Ford. As I detailed, at official level there is ongoing contact and strategies are being developed on a continuous basis, ...More Button

Co-operation goes beyond the island of Ireland. I met the Minister, Mr. Ford, and Scotland’s Secretary for Justice, Mr. MacAskill, on Wednesday of last week when we discussed a number of mat...More Button

I welcome the close co-operation between the Garda Síochána and the PSNI and the interaction between the Department of Justice in the North and my Department.More Button

This will be of benefit to the entire island of Ireland. I also met last week the Northern Ireland Minister for Social Development, Mr. Nelson McCausland, to discuss common approaches in the area ...More Button

The alcohol legislation is a classic example of the cross-Border co-operation in which we are engaged. One of the proposals we are considering is for both Governments to enact legislation to preve...More Button

In addressing issues relating to personal insolvency we were acutely aware of the legislation in place in Northern Ireland, as well as in England, Scotland and Wales. All of these matters are fact...More Button

Priority Questions - Human Rights Issues

Was asked: if he will assure Dáil Éireann that the new body resulting from the merger of the Equality Authority and the Irish Human Rights Alliance will continue to provide independent assistanc...More Button

On 6 October 2011 I announced the terms of reference of the working group to advise me on the merger of the Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority. At the time I made a clear statement...More Button

The review group I have appointed comprises four members each from the Equality Authority and the Human Rights Commission, as well as representatives of my Department and an independent chairman. ...More Button

I have made clear my view that we should have an enhanced human rights and equality commission which not only meets our international obligations in these areas but provides the best possible forum...More Button

The review group was given a broad remit to present from its perspective the best possible option. My duty as Minister is to ensure there are reasonable resources in place for what is established....More Button

In response to the Deputy’s question, no financial sum was stated to the review group although it will be conscious of how much money was made available this year and last year to both agenci...More Button

I look forward to receiving the report of the group, which comprises good people whom I know devoted substantial time to their deliberations. I also look forward to the input of that report into t...More Button

Priority Questions - Asylum Support Services

Was asked: his plans to create an independent complaint mechanism for asylum seekers reception centres at the Reception and Integration Agency; if he intends to extend the powers of the Ombudsman to cover the...More Button

The Reception and Integration Agency, RIA, of my Department currently accommodates more than 5,300 persons across 39 centres. Complaints by centre residents are dealt with in accordance with the p...More Button

The thrust of this procedure is that issues are best resolved quickly, locally and informally without the need for a matter to proceed formally. Where more serious complaints cannot be so resolved...More Button

The rules specifically state that residents should not be afraid to complain when they need to and that making a statement will not affect how other official agencies consider their claims to remai...More Button

In relation to the powers of the Ombudsman, section 5(1)(e) of the Ombudsman Act 1980 provides that the Ombudsman shall not investigate any action taken by or on behalf of a person in the ad...More Button

Additional information not given on the floor of the House.More Button

The question of extending the remit of the Ombudsman is in the first instance a matter for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and my officials will engage with that Department in relati...More Button

It is important we do not lose sight of the need to ensure the amount of time asylum seekers stay in direct provision is kept to a minimum and that we do not inadvertently open up a new appeal mech...More Button

There are, of course, fewer people in such accommodation than in previous years. The numbers are falling. I note that during the Deputy’s party’s 14 year term of office it did not dee...More Button

Extending the remit of the Ombudsman is, in the first instance, a matter for the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. My officials would be happy to engage with that Department on any such ...More Button

I do not wish to inadvertently open up a new appeals mechanism in an asylum determination system that already has comprehensive in-built statutory-based appeals mechanisms and which is subject to a...More Button

Priority Questions - Courts Service

Was asked: his views on the principle of community courts being used to harness the power of the justice system to address more located crime; and if he considers that a pilot scheme could be initiated within...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the biggest volume of crime in Ireland is tried in the local District Courts which are established pursuant to the Constitution as courts of local and limited jurisdict...More Button

Some years ago the National Crime Council published a report entitled, Problem Solving Justice, the Case for Community Courts in Ireland. The report examined the position in the United States and ...More Button

There are, however, a number of restorative justice options in operation, including two structural projects based in Nenagh and Tallaght that represent problem-solving approaches. Community courts...More Button

There are a number of non-custodial sentencing options available to the courts, including suspended sentences, community service orders, fines, compensation orders and probation orders. I am infor...More Button

Additional information not given on the floor of the House.More Button

While the scale of restorative justice initiatives in Ireland is modest, this must be viewed in the context of Ireland’s very small prison population. It is worth noting that, according to t...More Button

In my address last year to the Irish Penal Reform Trust I outlined my commitment to developing workable alternatives to custody which promoted a balanced but targeted rehabilitation of offenders. ...More Button

As the Deputy acknowledges, the introduction of community courts has resource implications, mainly in respect of the intensive multidisciplinary team required by such a court. In the context of th...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, crime levels in particular areas are influenced by a range of issues and a community court would not provide a panacea in the context of dealing with the various difficultie...More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, in the address I delivered to the Irish Penal Reform Trust last year I made a commitment to develop workable alternatives to custody which promote a balanced but targete...More Button

The best way for an offender to make amends to a community is through community service. The Probation Service is involved in extensive engagement in this area. The effect of the community servic...More Button

The establishment of a new community court, even on a pilot basis, would require additional resources. I am operating a Department which has €100 million less available to it for 2012. For a...More Button

Other Questions - Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: his views on the resignation of the chief executive of the National Women’s Council, the 35% reduction in its budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if he will guarantee that there will be no further cuts to the current 35% funding cut from his Department to the National Women’s Council of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66 and 91 together.More Button

I wish to clarify for the House that the National Women’s Council of Ireland is wholly independent of my Department. However, my Department will make up to €350,000 available to the cou...More Button

The council is undertaking a gender mainstreaming project on behalf of the HSE for which it is receiving €130,000 in the two year period 2011-12. Atlantic Philanthropies has awarded €770...More Button

As a membership organisation, the council also receives contributions from its constituent members which number about 166. This membership income fluctuates but typically exceeds €25,000 per ...More Button

In setting priorities for expenditure in the Department this year I decided that I would favour those organisations providing services over those providing, in the main, advocacy or research servic...More Button

Accompanied by officials from my Department, I met the chairperson and CEO of the council on 19 January to discuss the matter, following on correspondence with the CEO after the budget announcement...More Button

I have every confidence, as I said, that the council will continue to play a key role in promoting women’s rights and equality and that the working relationship between the Department and the...More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, the Government has a substantial programme in the area of women’s rights. Unlike the Deputy’s party, we will put in place legislation to ensure greater part...More Button

The Deputy cannot have it both ways. He is a member of a party which destroyed the economy of the country. He knows there are substantially fewer resources available to my Department. In circums...More Button

——the Deputy constantly pretends there can be no reduction, regardless of the areas in which it is made.More Button

I do not want to comment on the resignation of the chief executive officer.More Button

She had her own reasons for resigning. All I can say is that a very successful conference was held in Dublin Castle to address serious issues to give women an opportunity to engage in electoral po...More Button

We have to examine whether we can fund some of these organisations on a multi-annual basis. As we go through the three difficult years of 2012, 2013 and 2014 choices will have to be made as betwee...More Button

Other Questions - Garda Promotions

Was asked: his plan for Garda promotions in 2012; the number of anticipated promotions; when this matter will be brought to Cabinet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, today I secured Cabinet approval for the appointment of two assistant Garda commissioners, eight chief superintendents and 23 superintendents, giving a total of 33 appoi...More Button

I was very glad to secure the agreement of my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Cabinet as a whole for such a significant number of appointments. In seeking these ...More Button

With clarity emerging on the final number of retirements expected by the end of this month, I will be discussing with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the case for filling outstanding...More Button

On the question of when the other appointments will be made, I have had discussions with the Garda Commissioner — I talked to him today after these appointments were announced — and I u...More Button

I answered the question the Deputy has again raised regarding transitional arrangements in my Department. We took a very comprehensive overview, at a very early stage after my appointment, of the ...More Button

I will eventually get to that.More Button

Today was a good news story for the Garda.More Button

It is important that at a time of financial difficulty, we approach——More Button

——the issue of the use of resources effectively.More Button

The Garda Commissioner would have known a little time ago that these matters would come before the Cabinet this week.More Button

There is no difference of any description between myself and the Garda Commissioner——More Button

——who is doing a tremendous job.More Button

In the ongoing issue of ensuring maximum efficiencies, there will be a look at the current structure of the Garda force to determine whether further efficiencies can be effected and resources targe...More Button

That is more nonsense.More Button

There is a transition team in place at Government level which covers a broad range of Departments and deals with any issues that may arise as a result of the retirements. As I keep on telling the ...More Button

The memo on the matter, without breaching the concept of Cabinet confidentiality, would have been prepared — if it is of assistance to the Deputy to know this — before last week. Appro...More Button

It is important that we confirm for Deputy Dara Calleary who constantly thinks the world is about to end — every weekend he seems to issue a statement suggesting the end of the world is nigh&...More Button

——that the world will continue beyond 29 February right into March, April and May. The Government will continue to make positive decisions to the benefit of the country, not just in th...More Button

Other Questions - Legislative Programme

Was asked: the date on which he will publish a new consolidated prevention of corruption Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The heads of a Bill to reform and consolidate the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 2010 are being developed within my Department and I hope to bring them to the Government before Easter for ap...More Button

The State is party to a number of international instruments in this area, including the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Forei...More Button

The new Bill will make corruption legislation more accessible by replacing seven overlapping statutes with one consolidated measure. It will also afford an opportunity to review and improve the le...More Button

I hope the number of Bills we intend to give to the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality for consideration does not overwhelm its capacity to do its work, but I am looking forward to th...More Button

I thank the Deputy for his positive comments. As should be obvious at this stage, there is substantial work ongoing in my Department in modernising various areas of the law and consolidating legis...More Button

The formula used in the House is that a Bill goes to the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, but, as Members know, it is open to any Member to participate in a committee’s delib...More Button

Other Questions - Organised Crime

Was asked: the extent to which the necessary personnel, general resources, communications, mobile equipment, intelligence and forensic facilities continue to be available to gardaí to tackle the ongoin...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which adequate provision is being made to tackle organised crime with particular reference to surveillance and monitoring the activities of criminal gangs; and if he will make a state...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which it is expected to concentrate the resources available to the Garda Síochána on the activities of organised crime; the efforts being made to identify the level and ...More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that adequate resources can be made available to the Garda Síochána to meet the ongoing and increasing threat arising from the activity of criminal gangs; and if he...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 and 398 to 400, inclusive, together.More Button

The Deputy will be aware from the replies I have provided for him in response to a number of recent parliamentary questions of my determination to ensure the necessary resources and measures will b...More Button

The issue of organised crime on the island of Ireland was also one of the subjects discussed at the tripartite meeting held on Wednesday last involving the Northern Ireland Minister of Justice, Mr....More Button

The Garda Commissioner is responsible for the allocation of resources, including personnel, within the force; this is a function which is exercised in close consultation with his senior management ...More Button

3 o’clockMore Button

In implementing Garda actions a multi-agency law enforcement approach is used as part of which Garda national units from the national support service work together to combat those involved in organ...More Button

I appreciate that the Deputy has asked a number of specific questions about how the Garda Síochána operates in the fight against organised crime. Perhaps we might revert back to thes...More Button

Additional Information not given on the floor of the HouseMore Button

Owing to the nature of the relevant Garda activities, I am sure the Deputy will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for me to go into detail on the measures the Garda is adopting. I can, h...More Button

Obviously the Garda deploys a range of different strategies in targeting organised crime, those engaged in drug crime and those who use firearms, and the Deputy would not expect me to reveal those ...More Button

The Garda has been very successful in bringing prosecutions against many of those who have been involved in violence. Our legislation prescribes a variety of sentences for conviction of a broad ra...More Button

I will take the questions in reverse order. There is substantial information available to the Garda on a broad range of individuals who might be engaged in criminality. I do not wish to say more ...More Button

On Deputy Calleary’s question, I am happy to confirm that matters are advancing substantially in Europe with regard to a framework of criminal assets bureaus across Europe. I expect some ann...More Button

Dealing with organised crime is a specific matter of conversation between myself and the Northern Ireland Minister for Justice, Mr. Ford, and between the two police forces, North and South. There ...More Button

Other Questions - Prisoner Releases

Was asked: the results of the Irish Prison Service comprehensive review of the pilot project which involved electronically tagging and monitoring 31 prisoners on release; and the date on which this review wil...More Button

Part 10 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 provides for the introduction of electronic monitoring, or tagging as it is also known, in this jurisdiction. My predecessor made the relevant order in 201...More Button

A project board was set up at the time to examine the area of electronic monitoring, EM. The board recommended that a pilot project be initiated to test EM technology in this jurisdiction and asse...More Button

Following a public tender competition, the Irish Prison Service tested the use of this technology on a small number of prisoners, 31 in all, who were given temporary release. The test phase began ...More Button

Following the pilot project, the Irish Prison Service, IPS, has undertaken a review of its viability in the management of offenders along with a cost benefit analysis. That review will be consider...More Button

We are not looking at it in isolation. We have some pre-release programmes and there are a number of organisations, funded through the Department, that also look after prisoners following their re...More Button

Other Questions - Garda Stations

Was asked: if he will outline on a [265]county basis the number and name of each additional Garda station that will close or will have its opening hours restricted during 2012, 201...More Button

The names of the Garda stations which are scheduled to close in 2012 have been provided to the House in the policing plan for An Garda Síochána which I lodged with the House last Dece...More Button

In relation to closures in future years, the position is as set out in the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Under the Act, the Garda Commissioner must submit to me, by the end of October of ...More Button

Table A: Garda stations proposed for closureMore Button

* Non-operationalMore Button

Table A lists four Garda stations located within the Dublin metropolitan region and 35 stations located outside the Dublin metropolitan region identified which are scheduled to close this year.More Button

Table B: DMR stations identified for reduced opening hoursMore Button

Table B lists the ten Garda stations identified within the Dublin metropolitan region which will have their public opening hours reduced in 2012 from a 24 hours service to being open between 8 a.m....More Button

This is a management issue for the Garda Commissioner. It is something that can be the subject of a conversation between us, but the Garda Commissioner has a statutory function in this regard. It...More Button

The Deputy has made the case for closure. He is talking about a Garda station that is only open for two hours a day. Many police stations are in place for historical reasons; there was no overall...More Button

It is difficult to argue that a Garda station that is open for only two hours a day plays a major security role for any local community. What is important is that the local gardaí in the ov...More Button

Other Questions - Coroners Service

Was asked: if he is satisfied with the current practice by coroners in relation to the reporting of suicide; if there is a need for a review of our coroners service; his plans to review the legislation govern...More Button

Under the Coroners Act 1962, a coroner is an independent officeholder with responsibility under law for the medico-legal investigations of the circumstances of sudden, unexplained, violent and unna...More Button

Coroners must ensure a proper public investigation is seen to take place in order to reassure the public as to the cause of death in all cases of reportable death. I am aware that it is the practi...More Button

In regard to suicide, preventive measures and interventions can assist a person in distress from taking that very final step. In that regard, I pay tribute to the Deputy’s work on behalf of ...More Button

The Coroners Bill 2007 is before the Seanad, having been restored to the Order Paper on my initiative. The Bill is in the course of being reviewed in my Department with a view, among other matters...More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that, because of the independence of coroners, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the approach taken by an individual coroner. The duty of a coroner is to ...More Button

In so far as reform is required in this area of the law, the Bill my predecessor published is being reviewed in my Department. The Deputy is welcome to make a contribution to its further developme...More Button

It is important that family members are treated with insight and sensitivity when a death occurs, whether as a result of suicide or otherwise. Services are, of course, available within the HSE to ...More Button

I would welcome the Deputy’s contributing to the work we are doing on the Coroners Bill. I would be happy to engage with him in that context.More Button

Leaders’ Questions

That is the gold-plated version.More Button

Deputy McGrath has been deep in it——More Button

Deputy McGrath is the expert on desludging. He is a postgraduate and has a doctorate in desludging.More Button

(Interruptions).More Button

International Agreements: Motion

I move:More Button

As Deputies will be aware, our citizens currently benefit from Ireland’s eligibility to participate in the visa waiver programme, VWP, of the United States. Following the events of 11 Septem...More Button

Deputies may wish to note that the agreement draws inspiration from, and mirrors very much, the EU Council Decision of 2008, the Prüm treaty, on stepping up cross-border co-operation, particul...More Button

Briefly, the agreement provides that fingerprint and DNA reference data from each country’s national database should be shared in specific defined circumstances, namely, for the prevention, d...More Button

Should the search procedure show a match between DNA profiles or fingerprint data, the supply of any relevant further data is governed by the national law, including the provisions of the mutual le...More Button

Provision for the mutual legal assistance treaty between Ireland and the USA is already made in our domestic legislation by virtue of the Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act 2008. The thresho...More Button

The Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill will facilitate the establishment and operation of a DNA database for criminal investigation purposes, a commitment in the prog...More Button

The Garda Síochána’s criminal automated fingerprint identification system, AFIS, is currently operational. However, it requires further development to allow it to accept remote...More Button

International co-operation between states is an essential component in combating the ever-increasing global nature of criminal activity, in particular organised crime. Since the events of 11 Septe...More Button

We must also recognise that there are other elements in society that have a contemptuous disregard for the rule of law and are prepared to take any measure to subvert it. I refer in particular to ...More Button

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

International Co-operation: Motion

I move:More Button

In commending the motion to the House, I would like to briefly outline the background to Ireland’s participation in the Austro-German battle group. The ambition of the EU is to be able to re...More Button

A key element is the capability to deploy forces at high readiness, broadly based on what the EU defines as the battle groups concept. The purpose of this concept is to undertake operations known ...More Button

A central tenet of Irish foreign policy is to support the multilateral system of collective security represented by the United Nations. Ireland has worked to uphold the primacy of the Security Cou...More Button

At its meeting of 19 July 2010, the then Government formally approved the arrangements for Ireland’s participation in the Austro-German Battle Group 2012, agreeing to provide a contingent of ...More Button

The total number of personnel involved in this battle group will be approximately 175, incorporating the Recce-ISTAR core of the battle group, a command and control function, a combat service suppo...More Button

The memorandum of understanding is an agreement between all the participants, namely, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, FYROM, se...More Button

Most training will take place within the contributing member states’ own borders. However, some level of joint training with other elements will be required. In this regard, Defence Forces ...More Button

It is important to note that each participant retains the right to deploy or not to deploy its forces, irrespective of any EU decision. Equally, each participant retains the sovereign right to wit...More Button

In 2007, following the approval of Dáil Éireann, Ireland previously acceded to a similar memorandum of understanding in relation to the Nordic battle group. While no battle group has...More Button

Ireland’s active engagement in this area with the EU enhances our capacity to influence the ongoing development and evolution of the rapid response capacity of the EU, in particular reinforci...More Button

In summary, Ireland’s participation supports the development of rapid deployment skills and capabilities within the Defence Forces, together with improved interoperability with like-minded st...More Button

The Deputy lives in an Alice in Wonderland world. It is extraordinary.More Button

The Deputy is amazingly silent on the slaughter in Syria.More Button

He has had nothing to say about that for months.More Button

He is merely paranoid about Europe and America.More Button

They are not mentioned on the Irish Anti-War Movement’s website.More Button

I am sure they are delighted the Deputy is on their side.More Button

From where did the Deputy get that figure?More Button

Does the Deputy think we should not participate in peacekeeping measures?More Button

He is opposed to peacekeeping measures.More Button

That is all they are for.More Button

Does the Deputy believe that members of the Defence Forces involved in peacekeeping missions in Lebanon and elsewhere should use water pistols?More Button

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Written Answers - Garda Investigations

Was asked: the total number of Garda personnel involved in the investigation into Anglo Irish Bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the investigations into Anglo Irish Bank by An Garda Síochána and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) are ongoing wi...More Button

The detailed deployment of Garda personnel is a matter for Garda management who inform me that they are satisfied there is sufficient personnel and technical expertise available to assist in the va...More Button

In the light of some misleading comments which have been made publicly, it is important that I make one point very clear: I have been advised by the Garda Commissioner that this investigation remai...More Button

Was asked: the total number of cold cases currently under examination; the extent to which progress is being made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Serious Crime Review Team is currently reviewing twenty-seven cases. In fifteen of these cases review reports have been drafted and forwarded to the...More Button

I am further informed that a trial is scheduled to commence in March, 2012 in respect of one case. The remaining eleven reviews are ongoing and are at varying stages of completion.More Button

Question No. 410 answered with Question No. 408.More Button

Question No. 411 answered with Question No. 390.More Button

Written Answers - Proposed Legislation

Was asked: his views on the recent Law Reform Commission report on mandatory sentencing; his plans to amend the policy of mandatory sentencing for certain offences; and if he will make a statement on the matt...More Button

I should say at the outset that the recent Law Reform Commission document referred to by the Deputy is a consultation paper on mandatory sentences which invites submissions from interested parties ...More Button

I look forward to receiving the Commission’s final recommendations in due course and those recommendations will be given full consideration. However, I do not want to pre-empt the work of t...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the work of the expert group looking at the Criminal Assets Bureau who are reviewing the proceeds of crime legislation and the date in early 2012 that their paper will be pub...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, an expert group, established under the auspices of my Department, is engaged in a comprehensive review of the Proceeds of Crime legislation with a view to identifying possib...More Button

Was asked: if he will bring forward the date of publication of the inspection of places of detention Bill. More Button

The General Scheme of a Bill relating to inspections of places of detention is being prepared in my Department. This is intended, inter alia, to enable ratification of the Optional Protocol to the ...More Button

When the General Scheme has been completed, I will be seeking Government approval for its publication to facilitate a consultation exercise in advance of drafting and publication of the Bill. At th...More Button

Question No. 91 answered with Question No. 66.More Button

Was asked: his views on the establishment of an independent debt resolution agency as proposed by the free legal advice centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Deputy will be aware that, having obtained Government approval for urgent drafting by the Office of the Attorney General and Parliamentary Counsel, I published the text of the General Scheme of...More Button

There is a requirement under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland to publish the Bill in Quarter 1 of 2012 — since extended to end of April. The Bill will also fulfil the rel...More Button

The Bill will provide for a new framework for settlement of debt and for personal insolvency. The proposed reform will consist of following main elements:More Button

Critical to the operation of the new debt settlement processes will be the establishment of an Insolvency Service. This will be an independent statutory agency.More Button

Was asked: if he will outline the specific process he intends to propose for the appointment of approved intermediaries as mentioned in head 27 of the proposed draft scheme of the personal insolvency Bill 201...More Button

The Personal Insolvency Bill, the Heads of which I published on 25 January 2012, introduces a number of new non-judicial debt settlement systems. One of those systems — the Debt Relief Certif...More Button

The intention is that the approved intermediary will assist debtors at the application stages of the process and will submit the completed applications on their behalf to the Insolvency Service for...More Button

Other organisations might also be involved in the processing of DRC applications. These would most likely be non-profit organisations as a viable business model for money advisors or personal insol...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding legislation (details supplied). More Button

The Deputy will recall that the Government announced in December last that it had decided not to proceed with legislation in the area referred to in his question. There was a substantial concern t...More Button

I am well aware of the difficulties in which parts of the retail sector finds itself. The Minister for Finance outlined in his Budget speech that NAMA can play a role in dealing with the problems ...More Button

While it has not proved possible to bring forward legislation in this area, I urge those landlords who have not yet engaged with their tenants to do so and to have regard to the realities of the ma...More Button

Was asked: his plans to reform the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply below to Parliamentary Question No. 61 of 25 October 2011. The position is unchanged since then.More Button

Was asked: when the legal advice about not being able to change the upward only rents became available to Government; if the commitment in the programme for Government is defunct; and if he will make a statem...More Button

The Deputy will recall that in response to his request for clarification on the matter I wrote to him on 8 December last confirming that the Government had decided not to proceed with legislation t...More Button

Consultations with the Attorney General commenced in March of last year and continued until November, when the relevant Government decision was taken. That decision was informed fully by the legal...More Button

Was asked: his plans to introduce legislation to repeal the current bankruptcy legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Deputy will be aware that, having obtained Government approval for urgent drafting by the Office of the Attorney General and Parliamentary Counsel, I published the text of the General Scheme of...More Button

There is a requirement under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland to publish the Bill in Quarter 1 of 2012 — since extended to end of April. The Bill will also fulfil the re...More Button

The Bill will provide for a new framework for settlement of debt and for personal insolvency. The proposed reform will consist of following main elements:More Button

I have referred the Heads of the Bill to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality for its consideration.More Button

This is a complex area of the law where a careful calibration is required between the rights of debtors and creditors. Legal considerations aside, the economic and financial impact of any policy c...More Button

Was asked: if there is any legislation in place to regulate cash for gold shops to ensure that all purchased gold has been sourced legally; if there are plans to introduce such legislation; and if he will mak...More Button

The informal purchase of jewellery is not specifically regulated in criminal legislation; however the circumstances under which jewellery is being bought and/or sold may indicate the commission of ...More Button

My Department is finalising a report on criminal justice aspects of the “Cash for Gold” trade and this report will be submitted to me shortly for consideration. Following consideration of the repo...More Button

Written Answers - Prisoner Welfare

Was asked: the position regarding the proposal for the Irish Prison Service to examine options for the development of prisoner welfare and resettlement functions generally; and if he will make a statement on ...More Button

I can advise the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service is in the process of drafting a new Strategic Plan for 2012-2014 which will be presented to me, by the Director General, in the first week of A...More Button

The BITC Mentoring Service which is jointly funded by the Prison Service and Dormant Accounts Funding is in place in Castlerea, Cork and the Training Unit. Mentoring has been shown internationally...More Button

A weekly clinic service is provided in ten prisons by the HSE Community Welfare Service through the Homeless Persons Unit (HPU). Referrals generally are at the pre-release stage and Community Wel...More Button

Written Answers - Legal Aid Service

Was asked: if he will indicate the number of applications for legal aid, in both a civil and criminal context, in each of the past three years to date in 2012; the number of applications pending; his future p...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, the provision of legal aid within this State is split into two separate categories, namely civil legal aid and criminal legal aid. Under the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act...More Button

I wish to inform the Deputy that in 2009 there were 16,371 applications granted for civil legal aid and 55,664 criminal legal aid certificates granted by the District Courts. The equivalent figures...More Button

I am very conscious of the challengers facing the Legal Aid Board as a result of rising demand and limited resources and have actively worked to mitigate the challenges they are facing. I have ensu...More Button

I am confident that both the Board and management of the Legal Aid Board are very focussed on deploying their resources in a manner designed to ensure the continued availability of quality front li...More Button

Written Answers - Garda Operations

Was asked: if he will give details of the plan of action of An Garda Síochána to deal with the problem of cross-Border fuel smuggling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The House will appreciate that it is the Revenue Commissioners who take the lead role in investigating fuel laundering and smuggling in this jurisdiction and are supported in that role by An Garda ...More Button

In addition to this, arising from a Cross Border Organised Crime Co-operation initiative established under the auspices of the Department of Justice, Northern Ireland, and my own Department, a mult...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: the cost to him of the Garda presence at Bellanaboy Shell refinery, County Mayo, each year since 2006; the cost to date with a breakdown of the Garda ranks, the salaries paid including basic salary...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the additional costs arising for the Gardaí from the policing operation of the Shell Refinery project at Bellanaboy from 2006 to December 2011 is ...More Button

I am further advised by the Garda authorities that they are not in a position to provide projected costs in relation to future policing operations at the Shell Refinery. Those operations arise from...More Button

It is deeply regrettable that so much Garda resources have to be tied up at the North Mayo site. However this is absolutely necessary in view of the actions of some of the protestors — many o...More Button

The House will appreciate that, at a time when many people are under severe financial pressure because of our very difficult economic circumstances, it is scandalous that some protesters behave in ...More Button

Tabular Statement for PQ 6541/12More Button

Was asked: the amount of the 2012 capital allocation to the Irish Prison Service that will be spent specifically on improving conditions at Cork prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I can advise the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service is in the process of drafting a new Strategic Plan 2012-2014 which will be presented to me, by the Director General, in the first week of April...More Button

Was asked: the overtime budgets allocated to An Garda Síochána for the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the overtime budgets allocated to An Garda Síochána for the years 2008 to 2012 are detailed below:More Button

Written Answers - Garda Disciplinary Proceedings

Was asked: if he has completed a review of the discipline regulations within An Garda Síochána; the date on which he will introduce new regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

A review of the Garda Síochána (Discipline) Regulations 2007, involving all parties to the process, is under way. It is anticipated that the review will be completed in 2012 and new ...More Button

Written Answers - Courts Service

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the limited number of registrars due to the public sector recruitment embargo is having a negative impact on the number of cases that can be heard i...More Button

Under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, the management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions. To be of assistance...More Button

Was asked: the steps which are being taken to hold all remand hearings for prisoners in Castlerea Prison at Harristown Court, Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The position is that the Courts are, subject only to the constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions and the conduct of any court case is a matter for the pres...More Button

Section 27(3) of the Courts of Justice Act, 1953 provides that the judge may transfer or adjourn business to another occasion at the same court or another occasion at some other place in his distri...More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that, as outlined above, this issue is one for the judiciary who are independent in their functions. I understand that section 5 of the 1997 Act is used regularly where ...More Button

Written Answers - Garda Inspectorate

Was asked: if he has brought a report, Responding to Child Sexual Abuse, by the Garda inspectorate to the Cabinet; the date on which he will lay the report and addendum before the Houses of the Oireachtas; th...More Button

I can inform the Deputy that the Government has taken note of the Garda Inspectorate report, Responding to Child Sexual Abuse, and that the report and a document responding to the report’s re...More Button

Written Answers - Prison Deaths

Was asked: if he will establish an office of prisoner ombudsman to investigate all deaths in the custody of the Irish Prison Service to ensure equivalency of human rights guarantees as part of the State&rsquo...More Button

All deaths of prisoners are subject to independent investigation. Every case of a death in prison custody is the subject of a Garda investigation and an inquest held in a Coroner’s Court. ...More Button

Written Answers - Prison Accommodation

Was asked: if a meeting [358]of governors and doctors has been held advising of new procedures that govern the use of safety observation cells and close supervision cells as set ou...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that meetings have taken place with the Governors and prison doctors regarding the new procedures for the operation of safety observation cells and close supervision cel...More Button

Written Answers - Garda Vetting of Personnel

Was asked: the reason Garda clearance documents are only given to companies or organisations which have registered with the Garda clearance centre and documents are not issued to persons living here or organi...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that Garda vetting certificates for employment purposes are only provided for those seeking employment in Ireland with registered organisations where the empl...More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their Garda clearance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their Garda clearance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 376 and 377 together.More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Garda Central Vetting Unit has no record of vetting applications on behalf of the individuals concerned. In the circumstances, I can only suggest th...More Button

Was asked: the number of Garda vettings carried out in each of the years 2008 to 2011; the number of clearances that were granted; the number that were declined in each of these years; the number of instances...More Button

Was asked: his views on the Garda vetting process required of those applying to work with children and vulnerable adults with regard to the administrative inefficiencies that result from a person having to be...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 388 and 389 together.More Button

There has been a substantial increase in the volume of vetting applications received by the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) over recent years. The numbers of applications processed by the GCVU fo...More Button

The GCVU does not grant or decline to grant clearances. The position is that a registered organisation submits a vetting application on behalf of a prospective employee or volunteer. The applicatio...More Button

I am advised by the Garda authorities that details of the number of times an individual has had a vetting request made on his/her behalf is not readily available, since each application is consider...More Button

For the sake of clarity I would point out that Garda vetting certificates are issued to specified registered organisations in respect of a particular post or employment in response to a written req...More Button

The Garda Vetting certificate is non-transferable. It is important to emphasise that it is a disclosure to the requesting, registered organisation of the position at the time when it is issued. Fur...More Button

Since I became Minister I have taken a particular interest in improving the Garda vetting process. In that regard a number of measures to ensure improvements in the time it takes for the processing...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that at present, there are approximately 8,000 vetting applications in the course of being processed and that the average processing time at the Garda Central...More Button

This processing time can, nevertheless, be affected by seasonal fluctuations or the necessity to seek further information on particular applications which may result in the processing time exceedin...More Button

Written Answers - Garda Deployment

Was asked: the manner in which, under section 30(4) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner decides the fees to charge for police services on a non-public duty basis for commercia...More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the cost to the event holder is determined by the number of gardaí deployed at a particular event. The operational policing plan for a particular...More Button

Was asked: the statutory basis which allows Garda escorts for transporting commercial explosives on a non-public duty basis; the body that bears the cost of Garda involvement in such activities; and if he wil...More Button

I can inform the Deputy that under section 30 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner may charge for certain policing services. The question of charges for the type of ...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding Toomevara Garda station, County Tipperary; if he will address the concerns of the local community who fear that the retiring garda will not be replaced; the steps being taken...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Commissioner, in consultation with his senior management team, is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organis...More Button

While there is no getting away from the reality that public expenditure and public service numbers have to be reduced in the context of the agreement with the EU and the IMF, it is our intention to...More Button

Garda management will continue to closely monitor the allocation of resources, including transfers and retirements, in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies i...More Button

Was asked: the extent if any to which redeployment of personnel within the Garda Síochána will take place to ensure adequate policing in areas hardest hit by retirements from the force in the co...More Button

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the total number of Garda retirements from the Force in the first two months of this year is expected to be around 300. To put that figure into context,...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, these reductions form part of a wider programme aimed at reducing the size of the public service, and will contribute to reducing expenditure and complying with the ter...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Commissioner, in consultation with his senior management team, is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organis...More Button

Written Answers - White Papers

Was asked: the increases in supports, both in staffing and resources, he will give to the Probation Service to enable it to work with more offenders in the context of his initiatives which attempt to reduce p...More Button

I understand the Deputy is referring to the introduction of a pilot project, the Community Return scheme, in October, 2011 under which offenders who pose no threat to the community are offered earn...More Button

Was asked: the civil society organisations or other organisations he has engaged with in the context of the White Paper on Crime process; and the date on which this paper will be published. More Button

I can inform the Deputy that consultation has been central to the development of the White Paper on Crime and was principally structured around four discussion documents. As part of this process ...More Button

I can confirm that work on the development of a White Paper on Crime is at an advanced stage and is expected to be completed this year.More Button

Written Answers - Organised Crime

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that no person to date has been convicted under gangland legislation, specifically of the provisions contained in the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 20...More Button

I have previously indicated to the House my intention to keep under review the legislative framework underpinning the State’s response to organised crime to see whether any further improvemen...More Button

Further to this, my Department is currently undertaking a specific review of the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009, to which the Deputy refers, to see if its provisions can b...More Button

Figures available with regard to the operation of the 2009 Act up to 31st January 2012 indicate that, although no convictions have been recorded, the legislation has been used on 160 occasions wh...More Button

Two persons had been charged under Section 71A of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 as inserted by section 5 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 (directing a criminal organisation) and six per...More Button

I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána continues to vigorously tackle organised crime through undertaking a range of activities designed to disrupt and dismantle the operation...More Button

The Garda Síochána Policing Plan 2012 sets out the key actions in tackling organised crime for the year ahead, which includes a focus on drug trafficking, e-crime, financial crime, an...More Button

With regard to forthcoming legislative proposals, I shall be bringing forward proposals for changes in the Proceeds of Crime legislation to increase the powers available to the Criminal Assets Bure...More Button

Where there is an identified requirement for additional legislative provisions to further enhance existing provisions tackling organised crime, I will not hesitate in bringing forward proposals.More Button

Was asked: the number of prosecutions taken against criminal gangs or members thereof in each of the past four years to date; the number of court appearances; the number of convictions; the number of cases di...More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that membership of organised crime gangs tends to be fluid and offences committed by members of criminal gangs may or may not be connected with an individual’s memb...More Button

It is therefore not feasible to provide the Deputy with the particular information sought.More Button

However, the Deputy will be aware that the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009, which entered into force on 23 July 2009, introduced a number of provisions which strengthened the law dealing with...More Button

Since the enactment of that legislation on 23 July 2009, up to 31 January, 2012, I am advised by the Garda authorities that the provisions of the Act have been used on 160 occasions where arrests ...More Button

In the same period, eight individuals have been charged under the legislation, six under section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, as inserted by section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Ac...More Button

Written Answers - Prison Conditions

Was asked: if he is satisfied that the current procedures regarding deaths in prison custody comply with the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights. More Button

I am satisfied that the current procedures regarding deaths in prison custody fully comply with the European Convention on Human Rights. The jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights re...More Button

All prisoner deaths are automatically the subject of a Garda investigation and an inquest held in a Coroner’s Court. The cause of death is determined by a jury on the basis of the informatio...More Button

We are currently reviewing the procedures for the investigation of prisoner deaths to determine if procedures can be further improved.More Button

Written Answers - Garda Strength

Was asked: if he has directed the Garda Commissioner on the issue of the reduction of personnel in the Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The strength of the Garda Síochána at the end of 2011 was just under 13,900, along with over 2,000 civilian support staff and over 800 Garda Reserve members. More Button

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the total number of Garda retirements from the Force in the first two months of this year is expected to be around 300. To put that figure into context, ...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, these reductions form part of a wider programme aimed at reducing the size of the public service, and will contribute to reducing expenditure and complying with the ter...More Button

The Deputy will also be aware that the Commissioner, in consultation with his senior management team, is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the or...More Button

Was asked: his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding Garda numbers. More Button

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the personnel strength of the Kerry Division on the 31 December 2011, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 314 which compares wit...More Button

Today I have secured Cabinet approval for the appointment of 2 Assistant Garda Commissioners, 8 Chief Superintendents and 23 Superintendents, a total of 33 appointments to senior Garda ranks. All ...More Button

Local Garda Management closely monitors the allocation of all resources in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Region...More Button

While a policing service may not always be provided in the same way as it was in the past, it is no less effective and the commitment of An Garda Síochána to the community is not dimi...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide a breakdown of the numbers of gardaí who retired from the force in Ballymun, Finglas, Santry and Whitehall, Dublin 11; the expected retirements for 2012; and if these posi...More Button

I wish to advise the Deputy that it has not been possible to provide the information required in the limited time available. However, the information is currently being collated and will be sent t...More Button

Was asked: if he will provide a breakdown of the number of gardaí serving in Dublin Airport in the years 2010, 2011 and projected numbers for 2012. More Button

I have been informed by the Commissioner that the personnel strength of Dublin Airport on 31 December 2010 and on the 31 December 2011 was 22 and 33 respectively. These numbers are augmented by of...More Button

Was asked: the current status of Garda management in relation to promotions, resignations and retirements; if he is satisfied that there are enough inspectors, superintendents, chief inspectors and assistant ...More Button

The strength of the Garda Síochána at the end of 2011 was just under 13,900, along with over 2,000 civilian support staff and over 800 Garda Reserve members. I am informed by the Gar...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, these reductions form part of a wider programme aimed at reducing the size of the public service, and will contribute to reducing expenditure and complying with the ter...More Button

I was very glad to secure the agreement of my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Cabinet as a whole for such a significant number of appointments. In seeking these...More Button

Was asked: the number of gardaí that have availed of the early retirement scheme in County Donegal and their rank. More Button

Members of An Garda Síochána who joined the force prior to 1 April 2004 may retire once they have served at least 30 years and they have reached 50 years of age. Members of An Garda ...More Button

Members can avail of a Cost Neutral Early Retirement (CNER) Scheme under certain conditions.More Button

I have been informed by the Commissioner that for the period 1 January 2012 to 29 February 2012, 1 Superintendent, 5 Sergeants and 4 Gardaí who have met the statutory requirements outlined a...More Button

Was asked: the number of gardaí by rank currently in the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Garda Technical Bureau; and if he will make a s...More Button

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (G.B.F.I), Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (N.B.C.I.) and the G...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Commissioner, in consultation with his senior management team, is responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, throughout the organis...More Button

Question No. 397 answered with Question No. 390.More Button

Questions Nos. 398 to 400, inclusive, answered with Question No. 69.More Button

Was asked: the total number of vacancies at all ranks awaiting to be filled at the present time; the extent to which such posts are to be filled in the current year; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the personnel strength of An Garda Síochána on 31 December 2011, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 13,894 broken...More Button

As the Deputy may be aware, I today secured Cabinet approval for the appointment of 2 Assistant Garda Commissioners, 8 Chief Superintendents and 23 Superintendents, a total of 33 appointments to se...More Button

I was very glad to secure the agreement of my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Cabinet as a whole for such a significant number of appointments. In seeking these...More Button

With clarity now emerging on the final number of retirements expected by the end of this month, I will be discussing with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the case for filling outstan...More Button

Written Answers - Road Traffic Offences

Was asked: the revenue received in fixed charges paid by speeding drivers as a result of detections by cameras operated by an outsourced safety camera network since its contract concluded in November 2009. More Button

Speed cameras save lives through the reduction of fatal and serious-injury speed-related collisions.More Button

The outsourced safety camera network commenced operations in November 2010 and is currently providing 6,000 speed monitoring hours and 1,475 speed survey hours per month across the country. I am i...More Button

Written Answers - Prison Visiting Committees

Was asked: the position regarding his plans to reform the prison visiting committees; and the way in which new members will be appointed to same. More Button

I have previously stated my intention to strengthen the independent oversight of our prisons. Under new legislation to be prepared, I intend to make Visiting Committees more effective while they c...More Button

Under these proposed new arrangements, Visiting Committees will report regularly to the Inspector of Prisons on issues they may wish to bring to his attention. Any urgent or major issue may be rep...More Button

The current role of the Inspector of Prisons and the Prison Visiting Committees are set out in statute. My proposals for change will therefore require amending legislation and I will be bringing f...More Button

In the meantime I am presently in the process of making appointments to Visiting Committees and within the last few days have written to the people concerned informing them of their appointment.More Button

Written Answers - Garda Stations

Was asked: if he will explain the rationale behind the cutting of hours in which Malahide Garda station, County Dublin, will be open; and if he will reconsider this decision. More Button

In reaching a decision on the closure and the reduction of public opening hours of Garda stations, the Commissioner reviewed all aspects of the Garda Síochána’s policing model, ...More Button

It must be stressed that the key objective of the review is to promote the more efficient and effective deployment of resources rather than secure modest cash savings. In this context the Commissio...More Button

Was asked: if he will review the implementation of the plan to close rural Garda stations announced in December 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

In reaching a decision on the closure of Garda stations, the Commissioner reviewed all aspects of the Garda Síochána’s policing model, including the deployment of personnel, the...More Button

It must be stressed that the key objective of the station closures is to promote the more efficient and effective deployment of resources rather than secure modest cash savings. In this context the...More Button

The Garda Commissioner has reiterated the commitment of An Garda Síochána to providing a professional and effective service to the community. Each Divisional Officer with responsibili...More Button

The priority will remain, that an effective and professional policing service is provided to every part of the community, both rural and urban.More Button

Was asked: the total number of Garda stations here as at 31 December 2011; the number of these stations that have an e-mail address; his views that every Garda station should have a unique email connection; a...More Button

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the total number of Garda Stations in the country at the end of 2011 was 703. I have been further informed by the Garda Commissioner that there ...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the proposals to redevelop Clane Garda station, County Kildare, in view of the inadequate facilities for both staff and members of the public; if the station has been identif...More Button

The programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is based on agreed priorities established by An Garda Síochána. This programme is progressed in co-operation wit...More Button

Was asked: the date of the last Neighbourhood Watch meeting in each community which is about to have its Garda station closed; the planned date for closure of each station; if he will confirm that a garda is ...More Button

The names of the Garda Stations which are scheduled to close in 2012 have been provided to the House in the Policing Plan for An Garda Síochána which I lodged with the House last Dece...More Button

Written Answers - National Women’s Strategy

Was asked: the details of his review of the national women’s strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The National Women’s Strategy was launched by the previous Government in 2007 as a policy document in relation to the advancement of women in all areas of Irish society for the period 2007-20...More Button

Progress on the implementation of the Strategy is monitored by a committee chaired by my colleague, Minister of State Kathleen Lynch. An annual Progress Report is made available on my Department&rs...More Button

The first such review of the Strategy is currently ongoing in my Department. It is anticipated that this report will be finalised in Spring 2012 and may be submitted to Government prior to its publ...More Button

Written Answers - Prisoner Complaints Procedures

Was asked: if he will introduce an independent complaints mechanism for prisoners here. More Button

The Prisons (Visiting Committees) Act 1925 provides for a Visiting Committee to be constituted for every prison in the State and one of the statutory duties of such committees is to hear any compla...More Button

There are also procedures within the Irish Prison Service for the investigation of complaints by prisoners. I am not satisfied that the existing IPS procedures are sufficiently robust and independ...More Button

The Deputy can be assured that every effort will be made to finalise this work as soon as possible.More Button

Written Answers - Legislative Programme

Was asked: the insolvency Bill, his plans to ensure that the lenders will have an obligation or incentives to accept them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The reform of personal insolvency law, the Heads of Bill which I have published, will involve the introduction of three new non-judicial debt settlement systems, subject to relevant conditions in e...More Button

It is not for me to speculate as to the future conduct of any of the participants in an insolvency process. However, I am of the view that new personal insolvency laws, including the bankruptcy law...More Button

Was asked: his plans to reform the law on mental capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I refer the Deputy to my response to Question No. 193 of 12 January 2012 in which I said that: “The Government Legislation Programme, published on 11 January 2012, indicates that the Mental Capacit...More Button

Written Answers - Visa Applications

Was asked: the procedures to be followed to facilitate a visit in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

In common with all citizens of Iraq the persons referred to are required to be in possession of a visa prior to seeking entry to the State. All persons who are visa required and who are not in pos...More Button

Queries in relation to general immigration matters may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service ...More Button

Written Answers - Citizenship Applications

Was asked: if he will clarify if, in the event that an American citizen marries an Irish citizen in the USA, he or she is entitled to Irish citizenship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

There is no entitlement to Irish citizenship by virtue of marriage to an Irish citizen under the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, whether the marriage takes...More Button

Section 16 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, waive some or all of the statutory conditions in certain circum...More Button

Was asked: when a citizenship application will be completed in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Louth. More Button

I am advised by the Citizenship Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that valid applications for certificates of naturalisation were received from the persons referre...More Button

The applications are at an advanced stage of processing. The persons concerned will be informed of my decision on their respective applications in due course.More Button

The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it...More Button

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose....More Button

Was asked: when a decision will issue on an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I am advised by the Citizenship Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that an application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to ...More Button

The application is at an advanced stage of processing. The person concerned will be informed of my decision on her application in due course.More Button

The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it...More Button

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose....More Button

Written Answers - Illicit Trade in Tobacco

Was asked: his response and that of An Garda Síochána to the report that as much as 18% of cigarettes smoked here last year were illegally imported; his views that the smuggling of tobacco produ...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that law enforcement in relation to the smuggling of tobacco products and the sale of illicit or counterfeit tobacco products within the State is primarily a matter for the...More Button

There is a close working relationship in place between the Customs Service of the Revenue Commissioners and An Garda Síochána in tackling this form of criminality. Searches are regul...More Button

Written Answers - Housing Management Companies

Was asked: the work he is undertaking to deal with the issues arising when families have paid deposits on homes in estates in which the management company is no longer in business and no local authority has t...More Button

One of the principal objectives of the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 is to ensure transfer of the common areas of multi-unit developments from developers to the owners’ management companie...More Button

Section 24 of the Act establishes a new Circuit Court jurisdiction for the resolution of disputes in relation to multi-unit developments. It means that if such a dispute cannot be resolved by the p...More Button

Written Answers - Sexual Offences

Was asked: if he is satisfied with the level of compliance by persons who are subject to the requirements of Part 2 of the Sex Offenders Act 2001; the number of notifications received from other jurisdictions...More Button

The Sex Offenders Act 2001 contains a comprehensive series of provisions aimed at protecting children and other persons. Part 2 of the Act makes persons convicted of a range of sexual offences sub...More Button

All offenders subject to the notification requirements are monitored by the Sex Offender Management and Intelligence Unit (SOMIU) at the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The Unit i...More Button

I am also informed that when the Garda authorities become aware that a convicted sex offender has left or is intending to leave the State, the Sex Offender Management and Intelligence Unit ensures ...More Button

An Garda Síochána receive, on a regular basis, notifications regarding convicted sex offenders who travel to this country. When SOMIU receives such a notification, it is recorded on ...More Button

I can also inform the Deputy that my Department has been conducting a wide-ranging examination of the law on sexual offences and a review of the Sex Offenders Act 2001 formed an integral part of th...More Button

Written Answers - Northern Ireland Issues

Was asked: his response to the view of the Garda Commissioner and the Chief Constable of the PSNI, that the threat of dissident republican activity was severe; the steps he is taking to tackle this issue; and...More Button

I am sure the House will join me in condemning all subversive groups and their activities. We should be clear that the so-called ‘dissident republicans’ are no more than criminal terrorists ...More Button

Since early 2009 the threat level in Northern Ireland from these groups has been classified as severe. The threat faced on this island from these subversives is a shared threat and I can assure th...More Button

Operational policing co-operation is the responsibility of the Garda Commissioner and the Chief Constable of the PSNI and their respective forces. Both police chiefs have emphasised the close natu...More Button

I meet regularly with the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, David Ford, and with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, and there is also a close and ongoing working relations...More Button

Written Answers - Independent International Commission on Decommissioning

Was asked: if it was his decision to donate documents from the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning to Boston College, USA; his views on this decision; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Questions Nos. 169 to 174, inclusive, of 26 January 2012. The position is as set out in that reply.More Button

Written Answers - Public Sector Staff

Was asked: if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the number of public sector workers, including gardaí, who have availed of the Croke Park early retirement scheme including their grade and place o...More Button

I am taking the Deputy’s question to refer to public servants who not having reached their minimum retirement age avail of Cost Neutral Early Retirement (CNER) and who also benefit from the p...More Button

Details of all public servants in my Department and the agencies under my remit who have not exceeded minimum retirement age and who, since 1 January 2010, have retired under the CNER Scheme or hav...More Button

The following table sets out the number of public servants who have exceeded minimum retirement age during the period 1 January 2010 and 29th February 2012 and have retired or have indicated their ...More Button

Written Answers - Departmental Bodies

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will receive their payment under the criminal injury compensation scheme; the reason for the delay in payment; and if he will make a statement on ...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal is entirely independent in the matter of individual applications under the Scheme. However, in order to be of assistance in...More Button

Written Answers - Passport Applications

Was asked: if a passport will [496]issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Irish Passports are issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs. However, I can inform the Deputy that I am advised by the Citizenship Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service ...More Button

The application is currently being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation and will be submitted to me for deci...More Button

The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it...More Button

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose....More Button

Written Answers - Firearms Licences

Was asked: the number of firearms licences held throughout the State; if he will provide a geographic breakdown of the locations at which these licences are held; the quantity of firearms held by each individ...More Button

As it has not been possible to compile the information requested by the Deputy in the time available, I have asked the Garda Commissioner for a report on the matter and will write to the Deputy whe...More Button

Was asked: his plans to address recent Garda behaviour in the issuing of gun licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I take it the Deputy is referring to a recent High Court case involving Judicial Reviews of decisions by Chief Superintendents in firearms cases. What was at issue were decisions by Chief Superint...More Button

In the light of issues which arose in those proceedings I sought a report from the Garda Commissioner. I have now received a detailed interim report. The Commissioner has indicated that he shares ...More Button

In the case of the evidence given by another member of An Garda Síochána, the Commissioner has indicated that, while an issue did arise in relation to the completion of parts of the a...More Button

The Commissioner is addressing as a matter or urgency the whole process of firearms licensing and the administrative functions associated with it in the light of the outcome of those Court proceedi...More Button

Tragically, the House will have been reminded in recent days of the dangers which licensed firearms can pose for members of An Garda Síochána and others. For my part, I am determined...More Button

Written Answers - Crime Statistics

Was asked: the number of legally held firearms that have been reported stolen during each of the past five years; the number of these stolen forearms that were recovered; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

I have asked the Garda Commissioner for a report on the matter and I will write to the Deputy when it becomes available.More Button

Written Answers - Civil Partnership

Was asked: his plans to legislate for the rights of children whose parents are in a civil partnership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if and when the legislative shortcomings of the Civil Partnership Act, which although a vitally important step in introducing equality and recognising the diverse composition of family units here, ...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the lack of legal protection for the children of same-sex couples; and if he intends to legislate on this matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 390, 397 and 411 together.More Button

The Programme for Government includes a commitment to amend the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 to address any anomalies or omissions, including ...More Button

Written Answers - Garda Transport

Was asked: the criteria by which marked patrol cars are assigned to individual stations; if it is by number of gardaí per station, geographical area covered by the station or if there is another or dis...More Button

Was asked: the number of marked patrol cars assigned to Skerries Garda station, County Dublin; if these cars are currently in working order; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the number of marked patrol cars assigned to Lusk Garda station, County Dublin; if these cars are currently in working order; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the number of marked patrol cars assigned to Balbriggan Garda station, County Dublin; if these cars are currently in working order; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 391 to 394, inclusive, together.More Button

Decisions in relation to the deployment of Garda resources, including transport, are a matter for the Garda Commissioner. In that context the efficient deployment of Garda vehicles within each Gard...More Button

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the allocation of vehicles within each Garda District is continually monitored in the context of crime trends, the identified policing needs of the area c...More Button

I am informed that there is currently one marked patrol car assigned to each of the Garda stations in Balbriggan, Skerries and Lusk. The marked patrol cars assigned to both Balbriggan and Skerries...More Button

Written Answers - Crime Prevention

Was asked: the extent to which recidivism has been studied with particular reference to crime prevention and or rehabilitation; the extent to which issues arising from such studies have been implemented in ea...More Button

The Irish Prison Service facilitated a major study of prisoner re-offending by the UCD Institute of Criminology, the findings of which were published in May, 2008. The study found that 27.4% of re...More Button

The Prison Service provides a range of rehabilitative programmes with the dual purpose of providing prisoners with purposeful activity while serving their sentences and encouraging and equipping th...More Button

The Probation Service is in the process of conducting initial research in order to measure the recidivism rates of offenders under their management. Preliminary findings from the work done to date...More Button

Crime prevention and reduction is a core part of the mission of An Garda Síochána. The Force attaches great importance to working in co-operation with the community, those directly a...More Button

At local level, inter-agency co-operation includes in particular the work of Joint Policing Committees which are a forum to consult, discuss and make recommendations on policing matters arising in ...More Button

More generally, work is underway in my Department on the development of a White Paper on Crime following an extensive consultation process with a broad range of Governmental and non-Governmental ag...More Button

Written Answers - Prisoner Education Service

Was asked: if he will indicate out of the total number of prisoners serving sentences of three years or more, the number who apply for educational or training scheme places in each of the prisons; the number ...More Button

I can advise the Deputy that out of the 3,578 prisoners serving sentences during the week ended Friday 16 December 2011, 1,683 or 47% participated in education placements. It is not possible to ...More Button

Prisoners are encouraged to participate in education activities and waiting lists, where they occur, are generally for the more popular programmes. Where demand exists for specific courses every ef...More Button

Educational services are available at all institutions and are provided in partnership with a range of educational agencies including notably the VECs and Public Library Services. The Department of...More Button

A significant expansion and development of vocational training programmes has taken place in recent years and there are now over 100 workshops in place in our prisons capable of catering for in exc...More Button

I can advise the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service is in the process of drafting a new Strategic Plan 2012-2014 which will be presented to me, by the Director General, in the first week of April...More Button

The Irish Prison Service provides a range of other rehabilitative programmes that include healthcare, psychiatric, psychological, counselling, welfare and spiritual services. These programmes are ...More Button

Written Answers - Prisoner Releases

Was asked: the total number of prisoners serving sentences of three years or more; the number of such prisoners who have been released on day, compassionate or supervised or other release in the same period; ...More Button

I can inform the Deputy that on 31 January 2012 there were 3,590 sentenced persons in custody; of these 2,326 persons were serving sentences of 3 years or more. On the same date, there were 839 pe...More Button

It is not possible to provide the Deputy with the other information requested as this would require the manual examination of records. Such an examination would require a disproportionate and inor...More Button

Written Answers - Temporary Release of Prisoners

Was asked: if he will indicate the number of prisoners that have absconded while on release or otherwise in each of the past four years to date in 2012; the number still at large if any; and if he will make a...More Button

I can inform the Deputy that the information requested relating to the years 2008 to 2010 is outlined in the following table:More Button

As of 6 February 2012, forty out of the 356 prisoners referred to above remained unlawfully at large. Figures relating to the number of persons who absconded from custody in 2011 are currently bei...More Button

It should be noted that the vast majority of prisoners who abscond, do so from the two open centres, Shelton Abbey and Loughan House. The profile of open centres generally includes, either low risk...More Button

Written Answers - Missing Persons

Was asked: the total number of persons listed as missing and reported as such in each of the past five years to date in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the total number of women and children reported and listed as missing in this country at present; the extent to which investigations are ongoing in such cases; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 408 and 410 together.More Button

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table sets out the number of persons reported missing in each of the years from 2007 to 2011 and who remain untraced, up to and including 3...More Button

Number of missing persons reported and who remain untraced, 2007 to 2011 and in 2012 up to 3 FebruaryMore Button

*Figures provided are operational and liable to changeMore Button

I am further informed that 44 women and 319 children were reported missing in the State from 2000 to 2011 who remain untraced as at 2 February, 2012.More Button

All incidents where persons have been reported missing remain under investigation until such time as the person is located. An Garda Síochána reviews missing persons cases on a regul...More Button

The Garda Missing Persons Bureau, which is responsible for all data relating to missing persons, provides expert assistance and advice to District Officers in all high risk missing person cases. T...More Button

Written Answers - Crime Levels

Was asked: the crime statistics in respect of a location (details supplied) for 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Following the submission in 2004 of a report and recommendations by an expert group on crime statistics, it was decided that the compilation and publication of crime statistics should be taken over...More Button

I have requested the CSO to provide statistics directly to the Deputy.More Button

Written Answers - Garda Retirements

Was asked: the number of gardaí who have availed of the Croke Park early retirement scheme from stations in Santry, Whitehall, Finglas, Cabra and Ballymun, Dublin. More Button

Members of An Garda Síochána who joined the force prior to 1 April 2004 may retire once they have served at least 30 years and they have reached 50 years of age. Members of An Garda ...More Button

Members can avail of a Cost Neutral Early Retirement (CNER) Scheme. I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that no members availed of this scheme in the stations mentioned by the Deputy.More Button

Written Answers - Army Barracks

Was asked: if he will clarify the future of Custume Barracks in Athlone, County Westmeath, as the headquarters for the 4th Western Brigade; and if he will publish the recommendations made by the Chief of Staf...More Button

Was asked: if the headquarters of the Western Brigade will remain in Custume Barracks, Athlone, County Westmeath, indefinitely. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 414 and 416 together. More Button

Arising from the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, the Government decided to maintain the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel. In response to the revised strength ceiling...More Button

I have asked the Chief of Staff and the Secretary General of the Department of Defence to bring forward detailed proposals for my consideration. This will include proposals regarding territorial a...More Button

Was asked: when the decision to close Clancy Barracks, Dublin, was approved by him; when the offer for sale by public tender was issued; the number of bids received; when the preferred tender was accepted; wh...More Button

On 15 July 1998 the then Government approved a programme of closure and sale of six barracks, including Clancy Barracks, which were considered surplus to military requirements. Clancy Barracks was ...More Button

In June, 2002 the Department accepted an offer from Florence Properties Ltd for the purchase of Clancy Barracks in the sum of €25.4 million, following detailed consideration of the matter and ...More Button

Was asked: the steps he has taken to provide a training location for the 54th Reserve Field Artillery Regiment, who are discommoded as a result of his decision to close Columb Barracks, Mullingar, County West...More Button

I have initiated a major reorganisation of the Defence Forces, which will include a reduction from three Army Brigades to two. I have requested the Chief of Staff and the Secretary General to bring...More Button

My Department is in the process of securing alternative accommodation for the Reserve Unit in Mullingar. To this end, an advertisement is being placed in the local newspapers seeking tenders for th...More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that capacity is available in Custume Barracks, Athlone, County Westmeath, to cater for additional personnel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

There is sufficient accommodation in Custume Barracks, Athlone to provide for personnel relocating from Cavan and Mullingar who choose to live in barracks (Single Living In). These personnel will b...More Button

Written Answers - Defence Forces Recruitment

Was asked: if he will confirm if the Defence Forces will be accepting new recruits in 2012; and the options available to those seeking to join the Defence Forces in the near future. More Button

The Government has decided to accept my recommendations that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force will be maintained at 9,500. I believe that this is the optimum level required to fulfil al...More Button

It is my intention that targeted recruitment will continue in 2012, within the resource envelope allocated to Defence, so as to maintain the Government approved strength of the Defence Forces.More Button

The Permanent Defence Force is not at present seeking applications for General Service Enlistment. If a decision is taken to hold a competition in 2012, details will be available on the Defence Fo...More Button

Question No. 416 answered with Question No. 414.More Button

Written Answers - Medicinal Products

Was asked: if he will acquire all written documentation provided to Defence Forces personnel relating to Lariam, either prior to or at the time of drug prescription, prior to deployment, while overseas, or wh...More Button

I am advised by the Military Authorities that the first major mission on which Lariam was prescribed was the mission to Eritrea in 2001. Written documentation relating to the drug was provided to ...More Button